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Nature. 2006 May 18;441(7091):303.

Language evolution: semantic combinations in primate calls.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9JP, UK.

Abstract

Syntax sets human language apart from other natural communication systems, although its evolutionary origins are obscure. Here we show that free-ranging putty-nosed monkeys combine two vocalizations into different call sequences that are linked to specific external events, such as the presence of a predator and the imminent movement of the group. Our findings indicate that non-human primates can combine calls into higher-order sequences that have a particular meaning.

PMID:
16710411
DOI:
10.1038/441303a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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